Coronavirus: Federal government sends California broken ventilators

Oliver O'Connell
Governor Gavin Newsom, Sunnyvale Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar visit the ventilator refurbishing site in Sunnyvale on Saturday: Office of the Governor of California

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Saturday that the state received 170 broken ventilators from the federal government.

The governor explained that the ventilators came from the national stockpile and were delivered directly to Los Angeles County.

He said that “rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety,” it was arranged for a California company to fix the machines.

The faulty machines were driven to a facility owned by Bloom Energy, a green energy company based in Sunnyvale, and were dropped off at 8am on Saturday.

Mr Newsom said the machines will be “back into Los Angeles all fixed” on Monday.

In a video posted to Twitter, Mr Newsom said: “That's the spirit of California. That's the spirit of this moment. Take responsibility. Take ownership and take it upon ourselves to meet this moment head on.”

At the onset of the pandemic, California had approximately 7,500 ventilators across its hospital systems. The state set a goal of adding an additional 10,000 ventilators.

To date, the state has added 4,252 ventilators, approximately 1,000 of which needed to be refurbished. Through a partnership with the state, Bloom Energy is working to refurbish ventilators. On Friday and Saturday the company refurbished a total of 200 machines.

More than 350 businesses and manufacturers in California are re-tooling their facilities to make medical supplies and essential products during this crisis. The Gap and St John Knits are making masks, gowns and scrubs for hospital workers; and Anheuser-Busch and other distilleries are producing hand sanitiser.

On Monday morning, the US had 143,532 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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